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Norwich architects Chaplin Farrant upbeat over year of growth after major contract wins

Members of senior management at architects Chaplin Farrant. From left, Martin Lewis, Jerene Irwin, Gitte Kjeldsen Highland, Mark Nolan, Wai Man Cheung and Mark Camidge. Picture: Sophie Skipper

Members of senior management at architects Chaplin Farrant. From left, Martin Lewis, Jerene Irwin, Gitte Kjeldsen Highland, Mark Nolan, Wai Man Cheung and Mark Camidge. Picture: Sophie Skipper

Sophie Skipper

A string of major contract wins is fuelling growth at a Norwich firm of architects, as the construction industry continues to rally.

Chaplin Farrant has seen turnover grow by 8% to £1.8m in the past year, while staff numbers have risen by more than 25% to 40.

The growth has come on the back of contracts for Norfolk Constabulary, for which it is working on three new bases worth over £10m, and a new £10m Energy Skills Centre at Lowestoft College. It has also been contracted for new training facilities for Norwich City Community Sports Foundation north of the city.

Director Mark Camidge said the firm had made the decision around 15 years ago to spread its interests across sectors, and was now reaping the benefits of a multi-disciplinary approach which brought many different services under one roof.

“We knew that to maintain the long-term success of the business we had to look at more than one or two sectors,” he said.

“Being multi-disciplinary also helps, as clients like having that single point of contact. It puts all the responsibility in one place and keeps it clean and simple.”

New techniques such as off-site and modular construction had changed in recent years, said Mr Camidge, along with clients’ eagerness for sustainability to be built into their new premises – such as the solar-heated hot water and photo-voltaic arrays at police stations in Cromer and North Walsham respectively.

“Clients are not just looking at the capital cost, but sustainability too. These buildings are in use 24/7, so that anything you can do to reduce the running costs will pay off,” he said.

Chaplin Farrant, which has offices in Yarmouth Road in Norwich and Cambridge, is working on sites across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridge as a “buoyant” mood re-emerges in the construction sector following a lull in activity around last year’s EU referendum, said Mr Camidge.

As part of its expansion, Gitte Kjeldsen Highland and Martin Lewis will join the board of directors and Wai Man Cheung and Jerene Irwin have been promoted to associate directors. Jerene Irwin has also become president of the Norfolk Association of Architects – the first female president for 40 years.

She will lead planning for FANN17, the biennial Festival of Architecture in Norwich and Norfolk.

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